I believe in the Knicks, I believe they will break my heart once again. Last night the Knicks lost in the final seconds to the Hawks, going down 1-0 in the series. I don’t know what surprised me more, the fact that I thought the Knicks would win, or the fact that I thought the Knicks would actually f-ing win.
They do this to me all the time, they play well for 45 minutes then blow it in the final three minutes. Our defense was impregnable, our offense impeccable, the crowd louder than ever, but the Knicks couldn’t pull off the win.
Why am I surprised? The Knicks go hand in hand with heartbreak. The Knicks are the Mets of basketball, as much as it pains me to say it, but they are. No matter how well they play, they end up breaking your soul. Not just your heart, your soul. It may have only one game albeit a great game, but these soul-crushing losses are nothing new to Knick fans. I would list all the heartbreaking losses in recent history, but I don’t the next year to write them all down.
Derrick Rose may have only had 17 points, but it felt like 50. He was making layups left and right, and making passes that proved he had eyes in the back of his head. Burks had a career night but missed a crucial 2 pointer late in the game to give the Knicks a lead. Randle sucked, but at least we know that the Knicks don’t have to rely on him for offense. RJ was fine for his first time, but his lack of offense last night was disturbing. One might even say, “I find your lack of offense disturbing.”
It was only one game I tell myself, and we were able to hang with them the entire game, even hoisting a 7 point lead at one point in time. But the story of the Knicks season from a pessimistic viewpoint is their inability to close when it matters most. Sure the Knicks have some clutch wins, but their misses in clutch games are big, like the game last night. Their inability to contain Trae Young in the final minutes was….. Disturbing. “I find your lack of defense on Trae Young in the closing minutes disturbing.”
The crowd was into the game, and Nate McMillan was telling his team during timeouts to find a way to communicate through the noise. The crowd was so loud, it made all Knick fans happy for a moment just because we haven’t heard the sound of pour joy from Knick fans in 10 years.
Trae Young killed us in the final minutes, and Julius Randle not turning his offense switch-on was the nail in the coffin. Whoever drew up the final inbound play was high. I have no idea what that play was supposed to be, and the sad thing is, I’ve seen the Knicks run that play multiple times in the regular season. And it never works. Randle was lost offensively and had some bad moments defensively, but I’m not worried about him.
Rose was back to his old self, and I want to thank the announcers for not saying there goes, “Vintage Derrick Rose.” “That shot was vintage Rose.” I hate when fans and/or announcers say that a player had a “vintage” moment, it’s annoying. That’s my reasoning.
The defense was very good, and Tibby will draw up some more plays to contain Young in game 2. However, I’m worried about the offense. Randle was a non-factor tonight offensively, and the Knicks were still able to put up 105 points. The Knick’s offense can be shaky at times when Randle is having an off night, and Barrett is making shots consistently. Tonight, Rose and Burks carried the torch offensively, and even IQ made some clutch buckets to hype the crowd up.
I swear IQ is the best crowd-pleaser in the league, he plays for 10 minutes a game, makes a couple of deep 3’s, gets the crowd hyped, then sits on the bench for the rest of the game. He has the best job in the game. Get the crowd into the game, and he’s damn good at his job.
Hopefully, Wednesday night will give us a different story, a story that ends with a Knicks win. I still believe the Knicks will win in 5 or 6 games. Young will have a terrible shooting night, and Randle will go off. Our defense is 10 times better than theirs, that’s right I say our defense. Because I’m a loyal fan who wants a ring after we win the Finals this year, that’s right I said we. In all likelihood, we won’t win the Finals, and even if the Knicks beat the Hawks they will lose to the 76ers in the second round.
Defense will play a big factor in this series, and the Knicks will win all of the defensive battles, and a few of the offensive battles. The Hawks aren’t as experienced as players like Taj Gibson, Derrick Rose, and Alec Burks. Experience, defense, and intensity will all play a factor in the following games, and the Knicks have the edge in those categories. A great game, a great crowd, and great performances. Even though the Knicks lost, that was the best game I’ve ever seen before, and wouldn’t trade it for anything. Except for the ‘Charlie bit my finger’ NFT. Watching Spike Lee jump up and down like a kid was hilarious, I hope the Knicks win the series just so I can watch Spike run on the court to celebrate with the players. Although if the Knicks lose this series, it would be fun to watch him curse out the refs, and trash talk the players.
Say it with me, Knicks in 6!